Cloud Computing

Cloud Computing / Virtualisation and Platform as a Service

We offer 2 fixed price options – a template agreement with or without customization by us. You can also preview this agreement by contacting us.

Does the arrival of Cloud Computing, Virtualisation and Platform as a Service signal a Brave New World where IT Users no longer need the expense and hassle of IT personnel and infrastructure or a more Orwellian scenario with excessive dependence on an omniscient external provider? The reality probably lies somewhere between the two.

It is true that Cloud does enable computing costs to be cut substantially. It does this by allowing customers to share offsite servers. This virtualisation of key resources means that users can deploy and pay for what they need when they need it on a “pay as you go” model. Whilst this suits many companies, it lacks the elements of customisation and detailed SLAs usually required by users with mission-critical computing needs.
In the 1980s, the world was dominated by mainframes. The arrival of PCs was a form of devolution to the individual who gained direct control of his computing environment.

Today many companies are understandably attracted by the cost savings promised by Cloud Computing. However, there is a substantial downside. Whilst ownership does have associated burdens, it does give you substantial control. With Cloud Computing or Platform as a Service, the provider can dictate what applications are available to you and, despite Service Level Agreements, will determine how quickly access and functionality problems are fixed. Also, of course, your ability to compute will be subject to the vagaries of the internet which may be completely beyond the control of the Virtualisation provider appointed by you.

The decision whether to retain your in-house platform or outsource your hardware and software requirements will have wide financial and control implications for your company.

Solid Agreement is Key

We draft and negotiate agreements for providers and users of Cloud Computing and Virtualisation services. We know all the relevant issues and can help clients to manage and contain the legal and business risks whichever side of the negotiation table we find ourselves on.

Traditional IT contract law and internet copyright law underpin most of the relevant concepts but Cloud Computing has made things far more complex.

In view of the loss of control resulting from the high degree of dependence on the Platform as a Service provider, the importance of a robust and comprehensive Service Level Agreement is paramount.

Service Level Agreement

Cloud Computing providers have been loath to offer any form of meaningful SLA. Ideally, users would be able to specify all sorts of minimum requirements, including matters such as uptime, latency to a certain location and service credits. From the provider’s point of view, it is important for the Platform as a Service contract to be associated with a service level agreement which contains provisions which absolve the service provider if inability to comply with the service level agreement results from reasons beyond its control. We have developed a template Platform as a Service contract. For more details see our Platform as a Service Agreement page.

Further information

Please call Simon Halberstam on 020 3206 2781 or via email to [email protected].